The credibility of a source depends on how and why it was created, its creator’s expertise and objectivity, the accuracy and completeness of the information presented, whether the information is current, and how the source will be used. Some sources may be very credible but still inappropriate choices for a research assignment, depending on the requirements of the assignment, while other sources, such as “fake news,” are never credible, no matter how convincing they are.
The process of evaluating a source -- especially an internet source -- includes both fact-checking by examining other sources such as internet fact-checking tools and analyzing the source itself by examining its purpose, relevance, objectivity, verifiability, expertise, and newness.
*These strategies come from Mike Caulfield’s free online book, Web Literacy For Student Fact-Checkers (2017), which provides detailed fact-checking instructions, including how to: determine the reputation of a scientific journal; figure out the original source of viral content; figure out who paid for a website; see if a tweet was sent by an imposter; find web pages that have been deleted; verify quotes from printed books; and more.
P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation by Ellen Carey (last updated 1/14/2020) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Download the document below to save or print a copy of the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Process:
Fact checkers research news stories and other information found on the internet to determine their accuracy. If you're not sure whether the information you found is accurate, try searching these fact checking websites to see what they say about it:
Several scholars and journalists have compiled lists of fake news sites, including those that share pseudoscience. Here are some of the best:
The following video tutorial covers how to identify and analyze different types of misinformation, and provides some strategies for evaluating news sources and finding more reliable information on the internet (from off campus you will need to log in using your Pipeline username and password):